Daring Baker Debut- Opera Cake

I adore opera cake, Chocolate and Coffee, how could one go wrong. When I read this months challenge for a white or pale opera cake I had a moment of petulance and then… Fruit and alcohol (well liquers) fillings were encouraged.

I thought of a recent Dorie Greenspan post about Ispahan, Pierre Hermes combination of Rose, Lychee, and Raspberry. But then I became a commitment fobe. What if I didn’t like it? 10 x 10 is a lot of cake.

Then the liquer thing started me thinking, of cocktails. What about fabulous fruit and a touch of alcohol in the cakes? I started with what was tucked away in my freezer. Coconut and pineapple, great start. Limes are in season. Pina colada cake tempting. Mojito, lime mint and rum, has promise. Decisions, decisions. So what is a debut daring baker to do?

Go mad. Make 3 small cakes and pick my favourite.

Only one small problem. I had never really added fruit (other than a bit of lemon or lime) to butter cream before and wasn’t sure about quantities.  I had never made an opera cake before but I did have an impressive collection of bookmarked recipes waiting for the right reason (I was thinking my own birthday cake this year). I turned to my copy of The Cake Bible for some help.

So I decided on

Rose butter cream, rasberry mouse with lychee syrup and thinly sliced lychee fruit.

Pineapple butter cream, coconut mousse with the pineapple poaching syrup and Malibu, with pineapple puree.

Lime butter cream, Fresh mint mousse, Bacardi, lime juice and mint sugar syrup.

I made the full batch of the cake, butter cream (I used the smaller amounts of sugar version) and mousse and then divided it up by weight into 3 portions. I then added my ‘mix ins’ by taste.

I made a half batch (all the raspberries in the freezer) of Rose Levy Beranbaums raspberry puree. I was pleased that my new food processor with centrifcal juicer did a fabulous job of straining the seeds.

I also saw her recipe for pineapple buttercream. So I poached my pineapple that had been put in the freezer, blitzed it to a pulp and added that in to the buttercream from the ‘master recipe’. The pineapple puree ended up a bit sweet to my taste. I would probably omit the sugar next time. I also blitzed up fresh mint.

The coconut came from the coconut palm in my backyard. The limes from the local markets. The lychees were canned in syrup (not in season now).

My cake pans were a touch bigger than 27cm x 36cm. So I trimmed them down to make a total of 12 pieces 18 x 9 cm (Those of you talented with math will pick I have 3 extra pieces of cake left for unauthorised coffee and chocolate action).

I made little cake boards for them, and set to filling them, with all my creations in all the little plastic containers I own.

Now, I did have some problems with 2 of the mousse flavours. The coconut behaved perfectly. The raspberry mousse was a bit runny and grainy. The mint mousse became soup. Take home message, this mousse recipe doesn’t want much more fluid added and really doesn’t want to messed with very much.

The cake was a dream to work with. I will certainly use that recipe again.

Here they are pre glaze.

And here are the lovely’s post glaze. I had some difficulty working with the glaze. When it was warm enough to spread nicely it melted the mousse. When I let it cool a bit it wasn’t smooth. However, I tell myself the little bits of raspberry mousse peeking out looks quite handsome.

And the taste… The mojito was the favorite. The lime buttercream worked really well. The Isphan with a touch of extra raspberry sauce to cut the heady floral notes from the lychees and rosewater was a close second. The pina colada was let down a bit by the sweetened pineapple. It needed the tartness to brighten up the flavors.

All in all, this was a lot of fun. This recipe has many parts but it wasn’t hard. If I was to make the light versions again I would try another mousse recipe. Perhaps with a more stable mousse (that wasn’t trying to melt away) my glaze could have been a bit smoother.
The recipe is many pages long so if someone is interested I can email it on.
And finally,
Hey mum, I’m a daring baker!
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28 responses to “Daring Baker Debut- Opera Cake

  1. wow! They look great! I can’t believe you did 3 versions! Great job! Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

  2. What fantastic flavour combinations, and full marks for having the courage to experiment. Love it!

  3. Three versions was definitely over the top! Great job on your big debut! Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

  4. welcome to the DB! and wow, what great flavors! your layers look so smooth.

  5. Welcome to the DB! Are you always so ambitious–with THREE official versions? Way to go!

  6. Wow, they all sound fantastic! Great debut.
    Welcome!!!

  7. welcome to the DBs, my friend! three cakes–you go! each one sounds like a great combo…and love the photo with all your containers of mise en place scattered about.

  8. Welcome, first challenge brilliantly completed !

  9. You did THREE?
    They all sound fantastic!

  10. great job–I love that you made more than one flavor, we did too. And, I had the same problem with the mousse–I did mango mouse.

  11. Welcome to DB, your version looks just great!

    Ulrike from Küchenlatein

  12. You are so creative with the flavor combinations! Well done and welcome to the DBs!

  13. MMmmm…The rose, raspberry, lychee cake sounds so yummy!

  14. Very interesting flavors, they wound yummy. My first posting in the DB group as well, welcome to the group!

  15. Wow, you are daring to try three versions all on a cocktail theme! I’ll have to give the mojito a try!
    Shari@Whisk: a food blog

  16. Wow! 3 flavours!!!! was amazing!!

    Great idea, and excelent job!!

    I don’t know…. maybe I’ll taste the pinneaple cake! 🙂

  17. Wow all the versions are amazing! Great job!

  18. Three versions? Way to make the rest of us look lazy! Just kidding of course. These look delicious and lovely.

  19. All the cakes look great, It was my first time too and was terrified initially, but it came out ok. I too let the glaze cool for a bit too long and it was not smooth, but then my husband used a hot knife to smoothen it. He is the engineer in the house and I am supposed to be the cook..:)

  20. Wow, you went all out! I love all your creative versions of Opéra cake, they look delicious!

  21. Ah indecision – I’m glad it’s not just me. What a wonderful idea to try three versions. They all sound delicious.

  22. wow, 3 different flavors! kudos and welcome to the DB! 🙂 i really wanted to try a mojito version but ultimately changed my mind – wish i had tried it now! maybe next time…..?

  23. They all look delicious. This was my first time too and I was intimidated but you really rose to the occasion!

  24. Wow! All three flavor pairings sound wonderful! I bet with a little tweaking you could re-make that same combination even better.

  25. Three different versions is definitely very daring – you did a great job!

  26. It’s a Neopolitan of opera cakes!!!! You definitely had fun. I think the lime probably would be my fave, but pineapple sounds interesting.

  27. Wow, that is a lot of work. All of the cakes look nice and sounded tasty.

  28. Lychees… why didn’t I think of that? Great job. And I love your countertop. 🙂

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